Here’s the story. It’s been really cold in Ontario, Canada lately. -24 degree Celsius. I got up on Family day morning, and thought I should check on the hot tub, as I haven’t been in it for a few days. I went out, and noticed that the led display said “—-“. I also checked the water, and it was only warm, almost even cold. I turned the breaker off, then back on, and pressed the JETS button to start the pump, and get it heated back up. The pump made a groaning / humming noise, but didn’t actually turn on. Nothing out the jets. I took the panels off, and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Knowing that I couldn’t fix it right away, I drained the water. I googled some steps on how to properly winterize the hot tub, because with it being -24C outside, any water will freeze.
With the tub drained, and winterized, I now felt comfortable with knowing nothing is going to burst, and I started to google trying to find out why the pump wouldn’t start. I found that there is a “Start Capacitor” that bolts to the pump, that supplies a jolt of electricity to the pump just to get it started. I looked at the pump, and I can see it attached to the side. Note – there is a Run Capacitor, and a Start Capacitor. They both look the same. Look at the below photo, and you can see both capacitors bolted to the pump. The Start Capacitor is the smaller one. I have a Wavemaster 9200.
I called Pioneer Pools, in London Ontario to ask them if they have any suggestions. They recommended I replace the whole pump for $400. I even asked them if they’ve heard of a Start Capacitor, and the person on the phone didn’t know what it was. They checked in the back, and didn’t have these units in stock. Again said I need to replace the whole motor. I’m not replacing a $400 motor, just because a $5 part if dead.
To test my theory of a bad Start Capacitor, with the breaker turned off, I wrapped a string around the pump output shaft. I made sure the string was tight on the shaft. I turned the breaker on, and pressed the Jets button, and heard the pump hum, but not turn on. I pulled the string, which jumped started the pump, and it kicked on, and purred like a kitten. I turned off the breaker, and started searching for a Start Capactitor. You can also take the cover off the capacitor, and most time you’ll see it’s gust hanging out the top. Here’s what it looks like:
You can use any start capacitor manufacturer you’d like, as long as it’s the same physical size, and you match the MFD, and VAC rating. Mine was a 88-106MFD, and 330VAC. I bought a 88-108MFD, and 330VAC. You should match it exactly, but i’ve heard you can go over the MFD rating by 10%. You should also stay at 330vac or over.
Once I attached this to the pump, it started up like normal. I added water, and everything was back to normal.
I wanted to post this, in case others are searching for a solution to this problem. I didn’t see much about the start capacitor out there.